“You have no idea what it’s like being a kid now,” the Kid said. He may have even said “in the new millennium,” lord help us. Bear in mind: Nickelodeon is writing a lot of his material.
“Actually, I do,” I told him. “I know everything about being a kid and I don’t think it’s remarkably different now. In fact, I’d be curious if you could name a single thing that’s different about your life that isn’t related to technology.”
The Kid was stumped. (Hey, I’ve got 35 years on him.)
A few days later, I was buying vegetables at a local store and I noticed the hanging scale that allows one to estimate the weight. And, suddenly, I was 10 again, standing in line at the Giant on Ingelside, waiting for a man to weigh our produce and mark the price in grease pencil on a paper bag.
I adore grocery stores. In an increasingly heterogeneous shopping culture, they often contain what local character one can find. The names alone — the Giant, H.E.B., Piggly-Wiggly, Publix, Grand Union, Vons, Eddie’s, Kroger’s, Winn-Dixie, the Colonial, Harris Teeter — are evocative to me.
Grocery stores are often a window on how a city is changing. There are more and more Mexican and Central American staples in my local store, such as “queso blanco.” The low-carb Tropicana OJ is easy to find at SFW (Shoppers Food Warehouse, although I can’t help thinking of a movie by that name), but has to yet to show up at Whole Foods.
And for all this — there’s no chore I hate more than grocery shopping. I just like to go into the stores when I’m on vacation and there’s no particular urgency involved.